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Injury update: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski expected to return next Sunday

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The NFL’s best tight end will be back against the Jets.

New York Jets v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

After looking like one of the NFL’s best units between weeks four and seven, the New England Patriots offense took a step back recently and began to struggle with consistency. One of the reasons for that might be injuries suffered by three core players: running back Sony Michel, right guard Shaq Mason and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Luckily for the team, its current bye week gives the trio additional time to rehab before returning.

And return they ultimately will: Michel was already active against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday, while Mason and Gronkowski are both back at practice and nearing a return. In the latter’s case, it is expected to come next Sunday (per ESPN’s Adam Schefter):

After missing three of the past four games with a lingering back injury, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to be able to play in New England’s next game after Sunday’s bye against the New York Jets, per sources.

As Schefter notes, Gronkowski missed three of the last four games after dealing with ankle and back issues. Now, the 29-year old is nearing a return and would give the Patriots offense another weapon in the passing and the running game — one that has been visibly limited this season but should benefit from its three-week absence. In turn, New England’s offense may finally start living up to the enormous potential it displayed earlier this year.